China Conducts Landing Ship Drills as Tensions Rise in S. China Sea

China Conducts Landing Ship Drills as Tensions Rise in S. China Sea - Merchant Navy Info - News

The Chinese Navy is conducting amphibious exercises in the South China Sea amid rising tensions. Over control of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, more than 500 nautical miles from the Chinese mainland. China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported that three landing ships. The Danxiashan, Laotieshan, and Lushan, conducted four days of combat training at an undisclosed location in the South China Sea. The exercises focused on search and rescue, live fire, damage control, ship-to-ship intercept mooring, smoke screens. And anti-drone air defense operations, with modern additions reflecting recent developments in unmanned aviation. These small landing ships are from the last generation of PLA Navy shipbuilding. And are intended to deploy small forces or armored vehicles directly to shore. The Danxiashan is a Cold War-designed Type 072 tank landing ship capable of carrying up to 10 tanks. 

The Lushan is a smaller Type 073 that can carry five tanks. Both can be used for direct landings on reefs, atolls, and other disputed areas in the Spratly Islands. Allowing China to rapidly occupy unprotected land in Philippine waters. Last week, the Chinese Coast Guard rammed a Philippine resupply mission at Second Thomas Shoal. Wounding eight Philippine soldiers and damaging several military RHIBs. Images of a Philippine soldier losing a thumb and Chinese soldiers carrying axes and knives went viral around the world. On Sunday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., during a visit to the Philippine military’s Western Command. sSid he was proud of the troops at Second Thomas Shoal for their restraint in responding to China’s “violent provocations.” 

Bravery And Determination

“You have shown the world that the Filipino spirit is brave and determined yet compassionate,” he said. Marcos stressed that while his government does not want to go to war with China, it will not compromise on the internationally recognized maritime border. “In defending our country, we remain true to our Filipino nature and want to resolve all these issues peacefully. And in carrying out our duties, we will not resort to violence or intimidation,” Marcos said. “But at the same time, we remain resolute. Our calm and peaceful attitude should not be confused with acceptance. We will never allow ourselves to be subjugated or oppressed by anyone. Marcos paid special tribute to soldiers wounded in battle and presented awards to 73 soldiers who took part in the resupply operation.” 

Although the Marcos administration has accused China of violating international law in Second Thomas Shoal, Marcos cabinet members appeared to take steps this week to ease tensions. Although the China Coast Guard crew carried sharp weapons, brandished them to threaten Philippine soldiers, and stole two Philippine RHIBs, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año stressed that “we have not classified this as an armed attack. By the international definition of an armed attack, it is an exercise of military force, an excessive use of force that may trigger the right of collective self-defense,” Año said on Monday.

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